Can You Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Asthma?

December 5, 2021 , In: Money , With: No Comments

If you are dealing with asthma, you are far from alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. For reference, nearly 1 in 12 U.S. adults has the respiratory disorder. Asthma is a condition that varies widely. For some people, it is relatively modest. For others, asthma causes severe impairment.

This raises an important question: Can you get Social Security disability for asthma? The answer is ‘yes’—asthma is a listed condition in the Social Security disability blue book. In this article, a St. Louis Social Security disability lawyer provides a more detailed explanation of the most important things to know about asthma and SSDI/SSI claims.

Social Security Disability: Asthma is a Listed Condition

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that is marked by spasms within the bronchi of the lungs. At its worst, asthma has the potential to be debilitating. You can file for Social Security disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with asthma and your condition is so severe that it prevents you from working. Asthma is a listed condition in the Social Security disability blue book (Disability Evaluation Under Social Security). Under listing 3.03 in the respiratory disorders section, an applicant can qualify for disability benefits for asthma if they can prove the following two things:

  1. You were hospitalized three separate times for asthma complications within a one-year period; and
  2. Your functional lung rate (FEV1) is low when adjusted for your age, sex, and height.

In other words, establishing that you have been diagnosed with asthma is sufficient to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Many people who have asthma are able to work on a full-time basis—sometimes even if physically taxing job positions. SSDI and SSI benefits are available for people with severe asthma.

Exception: Some Applicants May Qualify for SSDI/SSI Based on Asthma and Job Limitations 

As noted above, the listing for asthma generally restricts Social Security disability benefits to people who have severe impairments because of their condition. That being said, there is an exception. Some people may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for asthma even if they cannot satisfy the two requirements for Listing 3.03.

If you have been diagnosed with asthma, your doctor may determine that you are incapable of working in certain job positions. Most often, these restrictions—which will show up on your residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment—may include things such as avoiding heavy exertion or avoiding being around large amounts of dust and debris.

Depending on your age and background, your RFC restrictions related to asthma may be sufficient to qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. In general, the SSA will require younger workers (50 or younger) to attempt to retrain into a new position. However, with older workers (especially 55+), retraining may be deemed inappropriate. SSDI or SSI benefits may be available based on your asthma diagnosis and your current job limitations.